Subaru of America has finally launched the 2022 Subaru WRX, three weeks later than scheduled due to the cancellation of the New Year International Auto Show. The company was planning to use the international event to present the new performance sedan after a series of teasers, including an oversight by a prominent auto website that uploaded the thumbnail of their walkaround video 12 hours too soon.
The exterior design of the new 2022 Subaru WRX takes plenty of cues from the Subaru Viziv Performance Concept that was first shown at the 2017 Tokyo Motor Show. At the front, much of the Subaru styling elements are seen such as the hexagonal grille, compact LED headlamp with a pointy DRL signature (like the Levorg wagon), all-black lower grille and of course, the hood scoop for directing air to the intercooler.
At the side, the much-talked-about black cladding were carbon fibre items in the concept car, but in the new Subaru WRX, they are unpainted black resin (textured aerodynamic hexagonal pattern) that is commonly found on SUVs and crossovers. Subaru has cleverly incorporated aerodynamic air breathers into the front wheel arch extensions which are hexagonal, looking similar to a Lamborghini and particularly, the Countach.
Subaru has continued with 17-inch wheels and 235/45R17 tyre size on the new WRX base variant, with the higher GT model comes equipped with larger 245/40R18 performance tyres and 18-inch rims.
LED tail lamps with a horizontal decorative strip in gloss black as seen on the new Subaru BRZ coupe is said to “glow with a look reminiscent of volcanic magma”. A rear spoiler completes the sporty look of the all-new Subaru WRX.
As speculated by the American fans, a new 2.4-litre turbocharged boxer engine from the larger Ascent SUV powers the new 2022 Subaru WRX. The unit develops a higher output of 271 hp, just three more than the outgoing 2.0-litre unit whilst maintaining the torque curve of 350 Nm available from 2,000 to 5,200 rpm. Responsiveness is said to be improved in this new boxer engine.
Given the preference for manual transmission in the USA, it is no surprise that the new Subaru WRX continues to be offered with a six-speed manual transmission, which is said to have its shift qualities improved. Yet, a lot of development work has been done to further improve the CVT automatic transmission, now called the Subaru Performance Transmission. Both transmissions continue to deliver power to all four wheels via the legendary Subaru Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive and Active Torque Vectoring.
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Gear “ratios” or steps have been retuned for up to 30% faster upshifts, better ratio coverage as well as an increase in durability via the fitment of an external transmission fluid cooler. Drivers can cycle through eight pre-set ratios or steps via the shift paddles on the steering wheel.
Similar to the all-new Subaru XV and Subaru Forester, the new WRX is built on the Subaru Global Platform (SGP) which offers increased safety, improved dynamics, a lower centre of gravity and a drastic reduction in noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) levels. For the new WRX, the chassis has been further strengthened to achieve 28% increase in overall torsional rigidity and a massive 75% increase in suspension mounting rigidity.
This allows the chassis and dynamics team to design a longer suspension stroke for an increase in stability and lateral grip under uneven surfaces. For the first time in a WRX, the shock absorbers now feature a new electronically controlled system that has settings for Comfort, Normal and Sport.
The new e-dampers are paired with the new Drive Mode Select that includes a customisation feature, allowing the driver to mix different SI-Drive powertrain responses with steering feel and damper setting. Steering feel and feedback to the driver is said to have been improved via a new dual-pinion electric power steering system.
Inside, the new Subaru WRX shares the same dashboard with the Japan-only Levorg wagon, with the large 11.6-inch full HD infotainment display taking centre stage, literally. The large screen, in portrait orientation, is segmented to display vehicle information, navigation, selected media for audio as well as air-conditioning settings.
The majority of the interface with the Starlink Multimedia Plus uses touch controls, but physical switches for audio and air-conditioning have been included.
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The instrument cluster for the driver meanwhile continues to be a classic dual analogue setup with a multi-information display nestled in between the dials.
Sports seats are standard fitted, but the new range-topping GT trim gets Recaro items with increased support. They are power-adjustable and wrapped with black Ultrasuede material.
The EyeSight Driver Assist Technology that includes adaptive cruise control and new Automatic Emergency Steering is also standard in the GT trim, together with 18-inch wheels and the electronically controlled damper system.
The new Subaru WRX will be available at North American dealerships in early 2022.